Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. You set up a cooking timer on your Nest speaker or display in the kitchen, then go chill in the living room or the bedroom. When the timer rings, it just doesn't stop until you move your ass over to the kitchen and talk to that particular speaker, because yelling "stop" to the other Assistant units littered around your house doesn't do anything. We've complained about this for years, but the problem should finally be far behind us as Google is rolling out timer and alarm control across the entire house.
Google has officially introduced a neat nagging new feature for its Assistant speakers and smart displays called Family Bell, starting to roll out today. If you're the kind of person who often forgets to eat or sleep on time, who procrastinates a lot, works for hours and forgets to stretch their legs, or otherwise misses the regular time cues of a normal day, you'll be able to rely on Assistant to remind you of all of them. Consider it a virtual parent or nanny living inside your speakers and always looking out for your best interest.
The original air freshener-shaped Google Home speaker was announced a full four years ago, and we've long heard rumors of a successor with Nest branding in the same vein as other recent products. We're now getting what appears to be our first proper look at this new speaker, and boy does it have a weird shape.
Google Assistant speakers can be great tools, giving you an easy entry into voice-controlled home automation, but they can also feel like spies giving Google intimate insights into your life and daily routines. If you don't want to go without the convenience an Assistant speaker offers, there are at least some things you can do to make it less invasive.
This story was originally published and last updated .
While smart speakers have rapidly become ubiquitous in many of our homes, there are practical things about them—like initiating a factory reset when you sell them—that just aren't intuitive without a bit of Googling. And since the Assistant (fortunately) won't abide your voice request to initiate one, that means this is one smart speaker and display feature that requires going hands-on. Fortunately, it's pretty easy in most cases for devices like Google Home, Nest Home, and Nest Hub.
It's prudent to buy Google products at certain times of the year since they are often discounted on special occasions. The next sale season is Easter, and Google UK has a range of deals to entice you. Not only can you get money off some of its newest products like Pixel 4 and Nest Mini, but a few older devices are also down in price.
Google Assistant has supported the Indonesian language on phones and TVs since March 2018, but since not all Assistant devices are created equal for languages and features, that meant smart speakers were left out of the loop. That's changing now.
For most of us, Google Homes are Assistant and cast speakers first: We either ask for music or audio to be played or we use them like a Chromecast target from our phones. But that's discounting two other ways they can be used: as Bluetooth speakers and as source to stream to other Bluetooth speakers. For more than a year now, that functionality has been broken and Google Homes haven't been able to maintain a Bluetooth link without disconnecting, but the Mountain View giant has finally acknowledged the issue.
Someone took apart a rotary phone, removed the call-making guts of it, and replaced them with a Google Home Mini. The best part about this mess of circuitry? The receiver acts as the smart speaker's output. Yes.
Google has an unfortunate habit of announcing interesting features long before they actually become available, and that's again what we've seen in the case of Ambient IQ. Not to be confused with Ambient EQ, which intelligently changes the brightness and color temperature of the display on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, Ambient IQ does a similar thing for audio. After being introduced in October last year alongside Google's latest hardware, the feature looks set to finally make an appearance.